Friday, May 7, 2021

Unguarded by Jay Hogan Blog Tour

Unguarded by Jay Hogan

I fled Boston and my cheating jerk of an ex with three hundred dollars and a lip gloss in my pocket. Waking up the next day in Burlington, Vermont, with a crick in my back and a frozen ass wasn’t exactly in the plan. If there was one. Which there wasn’t. Story of my life.

Three hours later and I’ve been hired as temporary help in the local veterinary and grooming clinic, which is kind of impressive since I know zip about animals and even less about grooming. But one thing I do know—I’m crushing hard on the sexy, absent-minded vet I work for.

My life is a hot mess. The last thing I need is another relationship. Emmett pushes all my buttons, but he isn’t out. He's overwhelmed with a business to run and a son to look after and the kind of domestic life I never thought I wanted.

I should walk away.

But Emmett believes in me, and I might just be starting to believe in myself. As different as we are, is it possible we're exactly what the other needs?

Unguarded is a stand-alone novel in Sarina Bowen’s World of True North.

Don’t miss our reviews of the rest of the Vino & Veritas series!
For book one, Featherbed, click HERE.
For book two, Heartscape, click HERE.
For book three, Headstrong, click HERE.
For book four, Undercover, click HERE.
For book five, Aftermath, click HERE.
For book six, Booklover, click HERE.
For book seven, Flipcup, click HERE.
For book eight, Hideaway, click HERE.
For book nine, Turnabout, click HERE.


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Unguarded by Jay Hogan

Book 10
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~




The final client of the morning was a grumbling, overweight Pekingese cross named Charles, with an attitude to rival Genghis Khan and an owner who refused to come in with her dog because she didn’t want the nippy little demon to associate her with any discomfort.

Under instruction from Ivy, Tai had the growling, muzzled dog wrapped in a towel and pinioned against his stomach, his expression caught somewhere between are-you-fucking-kidding-me and abject terror.

I told him what we were about to do and he stared at me in wide-eyed disbelief. “You did not just say you were going to milk this little guy’s anal glands?”

I swallowed a laugh. “I believe those were my exact words.”

His gaze flicked down to the squirming dog, then back up. “Do I even want to ask why?”

I shrugged and pulled on some gloves. “The anal glands are two little sacs on either side of the rectum. Normally they get expressed every time the dog poops. Helps mark his territory.”

“Oh. My. God.” Tai rolled his eyes dramatically. “I think I dated a guy like that once.”

Ivy snorted while I grappled with an influx of images involving Tai with another guy and that whole territorial marking thing. I snapped the second glove on my wrist like an elastic band, hoping the pain might shock some sense into me.

It didn’t.

Tai got his freak under control and tucked Charles firmly back against his stomach. It was the first time I’d ever been jealous of the mutt.

“I know I’m going to regret asking this,” he said, wrinkling his nose. “But what happens when things don’t get expressed, on the whole anal-gland front? And I can’t believe I just said that.”

“Welcome to my world.” Ivy appeared from the supply room.

I caught Tai’s eye and waggled my eyebrows. He was hella fun to tease. “I’m so glad you asked that question. If they don’t get expressed naturally, not helped by poor diet and excess weight, then the glands can block and get smelly and painful. They can even form an abscess that can burst onto the skin.”

Tai’s mouth dropped open in horror. “Holy crap. And also—another date of mine.”

I gave a strangled laugh and realized I hadn’t had so much fun at work since... well yeah, it had been a while.

“Damn, that’s disgusting. The poor thing.” Tai lifted Charles to smooch him safely around the back of his ears. “We need to talk about your diet young man,” he cooed to the dog who, miracle of miracles, appeared to calm. “Fiber is the key, plus plenty of water and attention to timing. Clean, screened, and fit for a queen.” He glanced up with a wicked grin. “Right, Mr. Vet?”

Ivy coughed loudly, while every semi-functioning neuron in my body focused on only one thing that shall not be mentioned.

“I, yeah... I guess,” I managed to croak. “Although maybe not the screening thing, not for dogs.”

Tai lifted Charles to eyeball him. “Safety first.”

Ivy joined us at the table. “Okay, you two. Let’s get this done so I can spritz the room. Keep a firm grip,” she told Tai.

His eyes widened. “This is going to smell worse than I thought, isn’t it?”

She wrinkled her nose. “Think fishy.”

Tai got a tight hold on the wriggling dog. “Huh? Not my first guess. Okay, I’m ready. I have to say, it feels a little like an initiation.”

I flashed him an encouraging smile. “You’ll be fine. Now hold that tail up.” As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew, and sure enough—

He snorted. “Not the first time I’ve been told that.”

I shook my head, gently squeezed, and...

“Whoa.” He gave a long blink and jerked his head around and out of the way. “Ewww, Charles. That’s some nasty shit right there.”

I grinned from ear to ear, pretty much as I had from the minute Tai had walked into my clinic. I was so fucked.



Keeping our hands off each other has about as much chance of success as me buying a flannel shirt, ever.



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the tenth book in a series of stories written by a collection of talented authors and set in Sarina Bowen’s True North world. I am really enjoying the connections, and yet the variety of styles offered by the different writers. This is a sexy story of a vet who gets a second chance at love from an unexpected encounter. It is a book which is very moving but is also SO full of humour – I laughed out loud on multiple occasions and had a smile on my face for most of the time.

Escaping from an unhappy relationship, Tai finally stops when he reaches Burlington and a chance visit to Vino & Veritas gets him an in at the local vets, where they need help urgently. Cue plenty of opportunities for animal illness/cleaning humour, and Jay Hogan delivers repeatedly! Even just remembering back, I can feel my lips rising into a smile and my eyes sparkling with the funny incidents. But vet Emmett is very wary, and widowed young with a son to bring up, he is uncertain of exploring his attraction to Tai.

As we see their friendship develop and Tai's self-esteem and confidence return, we cannot help but want them to see what is right in front of them. I will not reveal more, but I promise you a really engaging, fun, and sexy story is delivered here.

‘I smelled like a drag queen’s tuck after a pride parade,’ has got to be one of the best lines I’ve read in years. I’ve become a huge Jay Hogan fan this year and I love that they’ve written a story for this series. Vermont is a long way from New Zealand, but Tai brings all of Hogan’s Kiwi charm and snark with him to the US. Somehow the hot-mess go-go dancer ends up in Burlington, sleeping in his car with not much more than a pair of leather trousers to his name. Fortunately, Emmett, a gorgeous and benevolent veterinarian, takes pity on Tai and offers him a temporary job.

With a storyline borrowed almost directly from Schitt’s Creek, Tai is possibly even less qualified than Alexis Rose for his job as a vet’s receptionist. Warm, sarcastic, and always entertaining, Tai quickly becomes an essential part of Emmett’s life. The connection between the two men is instant and electric but Emmett is a wary single father and Tai feels he has nothing to offer Emmett as a partner.

I’ve read three very similar bisexual single dad romances this month. This is probably the strongest of the three in terms of writing and character development but I’m finding it a difficult trope to get on with. The child-focused nature of Emmett’s life pushes the book into ‘sweet’ and ‘heartwarming’ territory. I personally prefer the author’s sexier, more complex and more adult writing in the Auckland Med and Southern Lights series. It’s a personal preference. Readers who love kids in romance will really enjoy this and I’m hoping this book introduces a whole new audience of American readers to one of my favourite new authors.



“Yes.”     “Yes, what?”     “Yes, to everything that just went through that dirty little mind of yours.”


Author Bio

JAY HOGAN is a New Zealand author of mm romance and romantic suspense and a 2020 US Lambda Literary Award Finalist in Gay Romance for her novel, Digging Deep.

Connect with Jay

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads



It’s all fun and games until somebody ends up in a cone.


Hosted by

Heart Eyes Press

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Unguarded (Vino & Veritas #10) by Jay Hogan to read and review for this tour.

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